tarot of the week--king of swords

“Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” ― Benjamin Franklin

Ah, the beautiful court cards. You can read more about them right here. And none more regal than the King of Swords. Let's take in his elegance for a moment, shall we?

The King of Swords rules the element of Air. We often use "air" as an insult, such as calling someone an airhead, or saying they're airy fairy, but the element of Air rules the mind and anything associated with the mind, logic, rationale, and of course communication. We whisper and scream and pass lots of hot AIR between us. The Swords rule the throat chakra (and the third eye and crown to some extent.) Swords, particularly the King, love discussions, even arguments and debates, on topics of global topics, political situations, war, philosophy and humanitarian interests. He is fair, and enjoys listening as well as talking. He believes in the power of language and discussion. 

This King of Swords is twenty feet tall, no? He stands talls, strong, decisive. We can tell that simply by his stance and readiness with his sword. He has been through hardships, and has fought many battles--both of the wits and of the physical. This has given him wisdom and discernment as his key features. He is an excellent judge of character and can get himself out of sticky situations often without using his sword at all. Simply reading people and speaking. He catalogues people, studies them as a scientist. He knows the brains of men. This is where the throat comes in so strongly for Swords, for often it is the penchant for being beautifully articulate and diplomatic that wins their battles. We see this contrasted in the Knight, who often speeds off into battle before all the facts are in.

What is it about this King that is so alluring? Well, as with all court cards, when you pull the King of Swords in a reading, first we must determine if this is your energy or another person's energy. Swords rule the astrological signs of Gemini, Libra and Aquarius. The King of Swords tends to be someone in a job like lawyer, doctor, judge, mediator, diplomat, humanitarian or decision maker of some kind. He is determined, judicious, intellectual, and incredibly articulate. When this King is upright, he is honest,  diplomatic, fair. More often than not, he is a professional. He tends to play his cards close to his chest emotionally.

Emotions are not where any of the Swords like to hang out and dissect. He'd much rather talk politics of some far away land, than his own emotional state. Swords don't trust their emotions, and tend to rely on their mind above any feelings. And yet your mind is often guided by its own agenda.  This is why the Swords tend to be such difficult cards in the Tarot. They are about perception. Often perception above reality. They teach the lesson that our own logic can betray us easily if we aren't practicing due diligence with our facts. Swords also tend to be their own Gods, placing self-reliance and self-will over trusting in God. The King has learned this lesson the hard way many times. I imagine him going through his Eight of Swords prison, Nine of Swords nights, and Ten of Sword transformation. You win an argument with a Sword by presenting some cold stone facts. It is important to remember that Kings represent the suits best attributes in a human, so we also must imagine that they have faced their own demons with their suit.

This is what arises with the reversed King--the demons of Swords. They tend to be unfair, prejudiced, malicious. and unkind. They demand loyalty and punish anyone who they perceive to have crossed them. Reversed Kings of Swords seek revenge, and often completely crush their opponent. It is not simply about winning for them, they want to ruthlessly punish anyone who opposes their logic. They turn their articulation into manipulation and often hold resentments for years. They embody that Klingon saying that revenge is a dish best served cold. They never forget a slight, the reversed King of Sword. The logic turns cold, icy. Woe is the person who crosses a reversed King of Sword with some power behind their anger. He can be brutal somewhat sadistic. We often see this card reversed with an abusive partner--male or female. This is the card of the controlling, punishing abuser. 

As with most cards, when the Reversed appears, you have to decide to what level this has occurred. Most of us aren't fully upright or reversed, are we? We tend to have some wonderful qualities and things to work on. King of Swords is no different. We often see one part of this reversed aspect in any upright person. We can see their vengeful attitudes, or their ability to manipulate with their words. This is evident in how we see lawyers, right? They study the law intensely for years, learning to emotionally detach and see both sides of an argument. Yet they have a reputation for lying. But that isn't fair, is it? Their job is to argue one side of an argument to win whether they emotionally agree with it or not. This is the issue with perception. It twists the truth.

Let me know what you think in the comments, and as always, I am grateful to share some Tarot wisdom. I'm also thinking of doing a Tarot course via the internets based on my in-person work. If you think you might be interested in this, please send me an email at themoonandstone@gmail.com.

tarot of the week-three of swords

Love has reasons which reason cannot understand." --Blaise Pascal

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The Swords never fail to make a dramatic entrance into your reading (and our week), and the Three holds no mysteries to its meaning. One of the few cards with no people portrayed, it is the universal understanding of the heart broken, love triangles, betrayal, love grief, and all matters of love lost. This universal experience of lost love is expressed by the heart pierced thrive by three swords swallowed by a storm. It needs no other symbols or explanations. We know this pain. Under the clouds and rain, we look at three swords--three betrayals--my lover, the other person/thing capturing the attention of the lover, and myself.

As with the Swords,  suit of Air, nothing is this straight forward. Air, the sign of perception, communication and reason, complicates when it interacts with love. As the quote says, "Love has reasons which reasons cannot understand." Yet Air is about reason, logic, and our "unshakeable knowledge" of things, which is why Air is often about perception. I put that in quotes, because can we ever truly KNOW what another is thinking? One of my favorite speakers often says, "It isn't what we don't know that will kill us, but  the things we know with absolutely certainty that just aren't so." And Three of Swords is about that heartbreaking disconnect which resides between our heart and reality. The Threes, numerologically, represent the Trinity, the bringing together of forces. Of course, the Three of Swords circles around that concept by dealing with the issue of betrayal. It questions one's true unity, one's loyalty, the trust so deeply needed. Whether perceived or real, the heartbreak is there. 

Therein lies the real start of the journey with Three of Swords. This betrayal, whether real or perceived, demands you change your relationship. It absolutely insists that things not continue as they are. If there is a love triangle, bow out of it. Cut out all that is no longer serving. If you are lacking in trust, examine that. Is the person unworthy of trust? Or are you in need of healing energy around your root and heart chakras? Often, this card comes when you have to "cut to the truth of the matter." And what I mean by that is when you need to find out whether your perception of betrayal is true or not. You have to put yourself out there, risk pain, to see the reality of your relationship. The Three of Swords cuts the B.S. out, and opens you up to heal. This is the distinction between keeping that heart in your chest and allowing it to be rained upon. You allow the hurt to be exposed to air. You allow it to heal. You allowing those vulnerabilities and secrets to poison your psyche.

Of course, the other option for this card is that you are the one betraying another. You love two equally, or at least, are engaged in two relationships. Perhaps clandestinely, or perhaps everyone knows, this card reminds you that someone will be hurt, and it is time to make a decision. Often this card comes in readings for those going through a separation or divorce, or through a break-up. Sometimes, it just is a symbol for me that the a relationship is in need of healing. Other times, this card indicates grief and loss, even on large scale loss, like where our nation is grieving. 

Less frequently, this can be about heartbreak about career, moving house, familial relationships. I would look at the other cards in the reading to get a better understanding of this heartbreak. I have pulled this card for people having heart issues, or surgery. It often bodes well, rather than negatively. It means the bad is being cut out to make room for the new growth. And therein lies the truth and the meditation for this card--releasing the old to make way for new. Whether it be true love, real heart connection, or new tissue growth, when we let go of a relationship that isn't serving our Highest Good, we open the door for one that is.

Ironically, the Three of Swords asks you to open your heart more to heal heartbreak, to soothe yourself with love. It is the opposite of what Swords energy is, which is to heal the heart with the head, and that is why it is so cloudy in this card. Heal your own perceptions and feelings of vulnerability, before dealing with another. This cannot be done through a new relationship, it must be done through self-compassion and self-love. Rhodocrosite would be an amazing ally in this work. A great meditation for this card might be to work on the heart center with Reiki or other energy healing, or heart chakra crystals.

I forgive and release all those swords that have pierced my heart in the past, in the present and in the future. I align my heart center with the Universal Love, Light, and Compassion. 

Let me know your experience with the Three of Swords. or anything else you would like to discuss about Tarot, crystals and more.

 

tarot of the week--four of swords

"The most valuable thing we can do for the psyche, occasionally, is to let it rest, wander, live in the changing light of room, not try to be or do anything whatever.” ― May Sarton

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Coming into the restful hibernation of winter, it is no accident that we pull the Four of Swords on such a wintry day. A beautiful card by all rights, it shows a Knight resting, hands in prayer or namaste position at heart center. Three swords on the wall, one underneath him. He is protected by the church, as evinced by the stained glass window. He is protected. Resting before battle, or after. 

Swords are the suit of Air--communication, perception, and all things dealing with the intellect. The Swords are often the most shocking cards to those unfamiliar with the Tarot.  We see the thrice-pierced, bleeding heart in the Three, and jail of self-imposed suffering of the Eight, the Insomnia of the Nine, and the ultimate dark card of the Ten Swords in the back. This card, however, appears innocuous. But it does insinuate a great deal about what we are facing or what we have just faced. All of that baggage comes with this card. War is hell. And so the resting warrior soothes his embattled body, readying himself for his next face-off.

So often people come to see a Reader because they want insight into a difficult period of their life. The Four of Swords often comes as a reminder to step back. There are a few meditation and step-back cards in the Tarot--Four of Cups is one that comes to mind. This Four is about taking time out, resting, but truly meditating, raising one's consciousness to bring a new weapon into battle--the spiritual cunning and centeredness to win any battle. And truly, taking the time to step back and out of a conflict, to reflect, to raise one's consciousness and get heart centered does change the entire battle before you even begin it again. 

If we search the background of this card, let's look at the stained glass window--the element of protection here. It is a scene of a someone kneeling before another in supplication. I believe the standing person is Mother Mary, but that is just my gut-feeling, perhaps because I work so closely with Mother Mary in my meditations. But I think this stained glass window is asking us to plug back into Source Energy. Our true source of power--God or the Creator or the Goddess, or however you conceive of the Divine. We do that through meditation, crystal healing, Reiki, and other forms of energy healing. The card is a solitary card, not one to go to meditation circles with. But that doesn't mean you cannot see a practitioner here for self-care. This card is one of the Tarot's most important cards of self-care. We rest and reenergize for the good of ourselves and all involved. To ready for the next battle in the war. Or to come to realization that the war is unnecessary altogether.

A great affirmation for this card might be:

I let go absolutely. I trust in the Divine.

 

tarot of the week-seven of swords

"My guiding principle is this: Guilt is never to be doubted.” ― Franz Kafka

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The issues of the Minor Arcana often have to deal with those daily toils and challenges. None face us more frustratingly than those of the Swords, which often appear as challenges of our own perception.

The Seven of Swords, often referred to as the Thief Card, begs us to use our intuitive skills to read--is this perception or reality? The card shows a man, wearing a fez, tiptoeing away from camp with all the Swords in his hand. He sneakily checks behind him. Is anyone following? The others in the background of this card are busy with war and battle. He is taking advantage of this preoccupation to steal the very weapons they will use for defense.

But who wins here? Certainly not the thief. His guilt and secrets condemn him. And so, this card often is a call to examine one's motivations. Where are deceiving yourself? As kKafka says, "Guilt is never to be doubted." When you want to figure out where you are most hookable, what is the part of your life you feel most guilty about? Where do you feel less than ethical? Where do you feel like you are getting away with something?

Sometimes, but not always, this can mean that you are being deceived. It begs you to open your eyes and check the motivations and behaviors of those around you. Swords are about communication, and this card sometimes comes when someone is sweet-talking you, telling you everything you want to hear. This is the card of liars, thiefs and cheats, so in a relationship reading, make sure you asking the right questions. This card can come when one partner is cheating, or one partner is AFRAID the other is cheating. (See how tricky that suit of perception can be?) And so, who is really suffering? The person unable to trust.

Most often, though, this card is about self-betrayal. Where are you being dishonest? Where are you betraying your own moral compass? Are your actions aligned with truth and integrity? Trust your guilt to be your conscience and deciding factor. Rely on this guilt-o-meter to point to the truth of your behaviour, and make amends. This card asks you to stop running away, hiding your true self, cease manipulating people around you, and ultimately, and most spiritually, face the shame. Release it. This is the true blockage to the Divine, to other humans, to your Highest Self. This thief holds his stolen swords right across his heart. This heart blockage can be overcome, by putting down what is shaming you, and facing your demons.

A great meditation for this card might be:

I live my life with the utmost integrity and align my will with the Divine.

tarot of the week-queen of swords

Grief can be a burden, but also an anchor. You get used to the weight, how it holds you in place. ― Sarah Dessen

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The Court Cards of the Minor Arcana work in one of two ways--they either represent people in your life, or aspects of the Self. These sixteen cards (four in each suit) hold attributes of the suit and of the Court position (King, Queen, Knight or Page), and in this way give us markers as to who this person might be. Each Court Card, individually, has its own sort of reputation. And the Queen of Swords most definitely has a reputation... 

Here is the beautiful Queen of Swords, faced to the future (in a Tarot reading, this is the Future), reaching out. Her sword is pointed up to the Heavens. Her feet are planted on earth. So much of the detail of this card tells us about this Queen. Firstly, the one most noted in Tarot circles is her Victorian mourning bracelet. It tells us this Queen is mourning the King, or a child, or even a divorce. Her reputation is one of ruling alone.

This grief (and if you have ever felt profound grief might understand this aspect of the queen) informs her every decision. She is determined to make decisions based on prioritizing what is important and what is merely noise. This is what anchors her, so to speak. She is not someone grieving in a way that is maudlin, or overly emotional. Her pain is written on her no-nonsense sensibilities, informs her decisions, but she does not wear her heart on her sleeve, and she never feels herself a victim. 

So, this Queen is independent, self-assured, knowledgable. I often refer to this aspect of the Queen first in my readings, because grief has reprioritized the Queen's life. All swords have a reputation for cutting through the bullshit, but the Queen has that reputation in spades. She has no time to hear petty grievances. Her time is too precious. And so, she can be someone who speaks her truth, uses few words to do it, but is a powerful, wise woman. People listen. Often, she has a reputation to those who do not know her of being a bitch, but to those around her, they accept her way is straight-forward, honest, and respectable.

Swords are quite intellectual as a suit, and so this Queen is run by her logic, intellect, and quick wit. Her heart chakra faces toward the future. That is her passion, after all, to create the future she wants. Her strength is her mind, so turn to this queen to figure out how things work, analysis, judgment and plans forward. And so, she isn't someone who is terribly reflective or stuck in the past. Her experience and the strength of her decisions make her someone to regard with great respect.  

Swords are also the Air sign of the Tarot, so look for this woman to be Libra, Aquarius, Gemini. She may be a writer, librarian, communicator, teacher. 

A great affirmation for this card might be: 

I know my truth and speak it with authority and wisdom. 

 

tarot of the week--nine of swords

"The night is the hardest time to be alive and 4am knows all my secrets.” ― Poppy Z. Brite

The beauty of the Tarot's rich symbolism is the universality in its messages. There are cards for love, grief, loss, jobs, patronage, success, happy homes, and wills. And of course, the universal experience of insomnia and staying up late in turmoil and grief. None among us is immune to these dark nights of the soul. The Nine of Swords captures this experience perfectly, if not alarmingly.

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Swords, associated with the element of Air, represents communication, the mind, rationale, logic and perhaps most importantly, perception. The way we perceive someone's words, their gestures, and often the stories we tell ourselves about the world around us ends up being the trap we have set for ourselves. Swords often have the most alarming challenge cards for people to see, from Three and Five, and Seven to Ten jump to mind, and yet the most important. Those are the ones that remind us that it is ourselves we must battle--from whom we trust to how we hold on to our storylines that have ceased their usefulness long ago, as well as reminding us of our own levels of denial and untruths. Isn't this the ultimate battle? To be absolutely honest about who we are--our deficits and attributes. Can we be objective? Can we analyze ourselves honestly? Can we let go of our illusions and face the music?  The Virtues of Swords are truth and justice. Nothing is more important than being absolutely honest to yourself about yourself. And so Swords challenge you to face the ocean of emotion behind you as we saw in the Two, to cut to the heart of the matter in Three, to ask yourself where your empty victories are in Five, to see what you are getting away with in Seven, to pull off your blindfolds in the Eight, and get real. Though swords are often double-sided and sharp, they also help us "cut" through the bullshit. To begin the quest to self-knowledge and honest self-appraisal.

So, if all this sounds like a little too much challenge for a little ol' Tarot reading, buckle up. The Nine captures this feeling of overwhelming guilt, fear, worry, anxiety, loneliness, and grief. It is a card often associated with insomnia and nightmares. When I pull the Nine for my clients, I often ask if they are having trouble sleeping, worrying about an issue in particular.  Or what their last thought of the day has been? This is what dictates your next morning, dominates your dream work, helps you process your day. And in this way, what are you trying to control that is not your business to control? So, perhaps the greatest lesson of this card is to Let Go and Let God. We have to turn this situation that is keeping us up to God, in whatever manifestation God appears to you.

The card lacks a ton of symbolic information, though there are a few significant markers for you to notice. The carving on the side of the bed is a sword fight, a battle of one man defeating another. Who is the sleeping figure? The defeated or the defeat-or? It does not matter, this card says, because they both end up in the same place. It is the battle that is the issue here, the fighting itself, rather than the outcome. The quilt around the figure contains the symbols of the zodiac and planets, signifying that often we are going through astrological and universal changes that need to be talked about. What is going on astrologically? What moon cycle are we in? Is that contributing to these issues coming up?

Numerologically, the nine is an important number--three threes. But it is a sign of completion. Completion? What? This card seems absolutely unsettled. It is true, but the Nine of Swords asks you to grasp the vulnerability of this card. This is your greatest asset. "The peaceful warrior's way is not about invulnerability, but absolute vulnerability, " as the quote goes in the Way of the Peaceful Warrior, and so it is with this card. What is keeping you up at night? This is your greatest asset, your teacher, your master. Remember, we are spiritual beings having a human experience. When taken in this way, our suffering becomes the gift, rather than a burden. What keeps us up at night is our hookable place, as Pema Chodron calls it, the thing we still need to work on. The beauty of the Tarot is that it asks you to shed yourself of these anxieties, to release from the fetters of your own self-limiting thoughts. Where thought goes, energy flows, as my teacher often says, and this card is remind you of where your energy is flowing (toward fear and worry, number one.)

The interesting element of this card is that it often is interpreted to mean that the worst is now behind you. You are in the darkest days. Often the experience of searching out a Tarot reader, or looking for answers in Tarot, is the first step of retaking control of your worries and fears and getting some answers. When we search the energies around your situation, we break it wide open, expose it to the sunlight, release the secret fear/anger/hurt/resentment/worry, and allow it to dry up and blow away. You are ready to dispel of the illusions around your suffering.

If you are working with the Nine of Sword's challenging energy right now, bring a rose quartz into the mix. Use it as a touchstone for true self-compassion. An affirmation for this card might be:

I embrace the lessons of this situation and release all worry to God.

 

tarot of the week--two of swords

It probably is no shock to any of you that when I pull the Tarot Card of the Week, I always say, "Oooooooo, two of swords." Or "Oooooo, the Moon." The Two of Swords is one of those cards whose imagery and symbolism absolutely enthrall me. It is so brilliant, succinct and confusing. Truthfully, this card has come to mean many things to many people, and my meaning has drifted afield of the traditional Tarot interpretation. But we'll talk about all the meanings, and you can draw your own conclusion for the beautiful Two of Swords.

With each card, you have layers of meaning--first the numerological implications of the card number, then the suit symbols, then the actual images on the card. Let's start with the number two, which numerologically is about balance, how we relate to others, communication, partnerships, relationships. This is no surprise. I think intuitively, we think of marriages as twos. Two people coming together. The suit of Swords is air and with it comes issues around communication, logic, thought. The Sword challenge cards are quite tortured. Think of the Ten of Swords, where a man is lying in a battlefield with ten swords in his back, or the Eight of  Swords, where there is a bound and blindfolded woman in a jail of swords. These cards are about self-imposed crisis. Those tortured thoughts and the way we trap ourselves. So, swords are often these internal struggles, the growth of our mind and spirit that pushes us to think differently, so we can act differently.

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The Two of Swords is a beautiful card, all my favorite symbolic elements, which is perhaps which I cannot bear to associate this card with its traditional meanings.Traditionally, this card has come to represent repression and denial. The fear of expressing love or anger or our truth. Remember swords are about communication, so this card can mean a blocked throat chakra often along with a blocked or closed heart chakra. I understand how this card has come to mean this in traditional Tarot interpretation. The woman sits before a calm sea--water always coming to symbolize emotions. The moon harkens of shadow work arising. Her back is turned away from her emotions, she does not want to face or see what she needs to see, as the card is traditionally interpreted. She holds the swords over her heart chakra, protecting her heart center.  But I have trouble solely associating that meaning with this card. 

To me, the Two of Swords is a highly intuitive card. There is nothing tortured or suffering about her position. She seems absolutely in control, staid, trusting of herself. (Here I am referring to the figure of the Rider-Waite deck. Opposed to Two of Swords in the Universal deck, where the woman on the two is absolutely tortured by her repression. In this way, our decks can make a huge difference in our interpretations.) The water is calm, settled. The sky is clear. In Tarot, the backgrounds of the cards deeply dictate the mood and meaning of the fore figures. The blindfold, rather than put on by someone else, seems carefully placed by the only figure in the picture. Perhaps she is training to trust her intuition, or she knows that her eyes are untrustworthy when it comes to her heart. "What do we know about ourselves?" this card asks. Do you know that that handsome man seduces you with charm and cunning, but turns around to deceive you? Do you know he says what you want to hear, but not what you need to know? So, what do you trust? That feeling of dis-trust, feminine intuition if you will, comes for a reason. When we dismiss it, we are trusting our eyes over our gut. Her solar plexus, open and unblocked, is the source of that knowing, and her third eye is blue, illuminated, rather than covered with hair or blindfold.  This is what is shining through her. Strength and intuition. (Use Pietersite for that beautiful combination, if you are looking for Two of Swords energy.)

The two of the Two of Swords means this card is about partnerships, so often this is about protecting our heart.  But the Two of Swords is in a position of waiting--for the time when her swords must be lowered, or when her swords must cut. The Two of Swords asks us to wait, to reflect, to contemplate, to train our minds through meditation and positive affirmation before we move. Watch. Learn. This is the time of preparation. I keep hearing Karate Kid--Wax on. Wax off. In fact, you get the feeling that this woman has been waxing for years, waiting to blossom, open her heart again, or open it for the first time. The moon is a feminine symbol in Tarot, and it definitely rings strong and true in this card, hovering in waxing(!) stage, over the whole scene. There will be a fulfillment here.

The figure is female by all accounts. These feminine symbols often harken to tap into your female intuition, whether you are female or not. That gut feeling, as I said. Perhaps we can see the traditional interpretation of this card as part of her training. She has closed off her feelings, but her defensive posture is absolutely warranted. She needs the protection, and her next move is knowing exactly when to lower her guard. Without the usual cues, she will just know. And it is about knowing when you need to use your swords or not. She is not a knight, in this picture, rather she is dressed in bed clothes. So we are also reminded to watch our dreams and the way Spirit speaks to us, warns us even, of those who can and cannot be trusted in our sleep.

A beautiful affirmation for this card might be:

I am in perfect alignment with my personal integrity. I trust my intuition to protect my heart.

So, let me know what you think of the Two of Swords. How do you interpret it? How is her energy working in your life right now? And please do not forget to comment to win a pair of labradorite and moonstone earrings on this post. Drawing on the Full Moon. Moon blessings.